Study: Respect, Not Money, Dictates Happiness

by Chris Curley on June 25, 2012

The respect of your peers and colleagues, not financial success, is what really makes you happy, PsychCentral reported June 21.

Studies have repeatedly shown that money doesn’t necessarily make you happy, but by the same token, research has shown some connection between workplace success and happiness. The common denominator, researchers from University of California at Berkeley say, is respect.

When people gained more respect in their social groups — whether at their jobs, in their friend networks, or in their neighborhoods — their happiness went up; when they lost respect, happiness went down, sometimes in a very short period of time, the study authors say.

Earlier studies have shown that having friends and self-confidence, along with enough money to be comfortable, are the biggest predictors of high well-being.

“One of the reasons why money doesn’t buy happiness is that people quickly adapt to the new level of income or wealth,” says study lead author Cameron Anderson, Ph.D. “Lottery winners, for example, are initially happy but then return to their original level of happiness quickly.”

On the other hand, “being respected, having influence, and being socially integrated just never gets old,” he says.

The study appears online in the journal Psychological Science.

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